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adapted from WIKIPEDIA for abcteach
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biofuels November 18, 2008
Biofuel is solid, liquid, or gas fuel made from relatively recently dead biological
material. Biofuel is different from fossil fuels, such as coal or oil, which are derived
from long dead biological material. The most common sources of biofuels are
photosynthetic plants. Biofuels are most commonly used to power vehicles, heat
homes, and cook. Biofuel industries are growing in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
There are two common ways to make biofuels. One is to grow crops high in sugar,
such as sugar cane, or high in starch, such as corn, and then use yeast fermentation
to produce ethyl alcohol (ethanol). The second is to grow plants containing high
amounts of vegetable oil, such as oil palm. These oils can be burned directly in a
diesel engine, or they can be chemically processed to make fuels such as biodiesel.
Wood and wood byproducts can be converted into biofuels such as wood gas,
methanol, or ethanol.
The benefits of using biofuels include reduced dependence on oil and more energy
security. Unlike fossil fuels, which add carbon to the atmosphere, biofuels can
produce energy without causing a net increase of atmospheric carbon. This is
because as new plants are grown to produce fuel, they remove the same amount of
CO2 from the atmosphere as they will release as fuel.
Humans have used solid biofuels for heating and cooking since the discovery of fire.
Biofuels have also been used to generate electrical power. The rising use of fossil
fuels dramatically reduced the amount of biomass fuel used for transport, heat, and
power. Recently, first in the 1970s and again since the year 2000, there has been
renewed interest in biofuels, due to rising oil prices, oil supply worries, greenhouse
gas emissions and climate change, rural development interests, and instability in the
First-generation biofuels are mad